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Restaurant owners cleaning up
Zum Rosen Hof to reopen
1205 ZumInterior
Members of the Hinesville Fire Department sweep away debris from Wednesday's fire at Zum Rosen Hof restaurant. Building Inspector Steve Wellborn, back left, worked with Fire Chief Lamar Cook and Fire Investigator James Ashdown to determine the cause of the fire. - photo by Phgoto by Patty Leon
Zum Rosen Hof owners still are uncertain of the date, but they promise their downtown Germany eatery will be back in business soon. The pledge came just one day after a fire damaged the restaurant’s interior, leaving extensive smoke damage throughout the two-story structure, and taking a toll on some of the restaurant’s fixtures.
The fire was discovered shortly after 10 a.m. Wednesday when employee Anita Weloa arrived to open the restaurant. She said when she opened the door, she was greeted by heavy smoke. Weloa noticed the bartop was on fire and dialed 911.
Units from the Hinesville Fire Department arrived and extinguished the fire within minutes. No one was injured.
HFD Chief Lamar Cook said the fire originated on the bar’s countertop.
“We were able to determine the fire started on the counter from a candle that was on top of the bar, and it just spread,” Cook said. “The countertop has a urethane coating and as it heated up, we think it caused the glass rack (above the bar) to catch on fire. It’s minimal damage to the building, and as for structural damage, there is none.”
Zum Rosen Hof co-owner Anka Hinze said the candle was battery-operated, not a wax candle. Fire department officials are uncertain whether the candle was left on overnight or had a defect.
Hinze and her husband, David Hinze, recently spent $4,000 on renovations to the eatery. The Hinzes said they plan to reopen as soon as they can. 
“We plan on redoing it,” said David Hinze, a soldier stationed at Fort Stewart. “We will have to just plug away and redo it.”
Anka Hinze said she is grateful for the fire department's quick response and the community support she has received from other local businesses and customers. Many patrons showed up Wednesday night expecting dinner, but found destruction instead. The restaurant is popular among soldiers and downtown workers.  Zum Rosen Hof offers authentic German food and hospitality.
“It’s important the community knows they will be back in business,” said Vicki Davis, director of the Hinesville Downtown Development Authority. “Fortunately no one was injured and the structure itself was not damaged.”
Davis and HDDA Board Chairman Donald Lovette met with the Hinzes on Wednesday evening and Thursday afternoon.
“We are discussing ways we can be of further assistance to help them get back on their feet,” Davis said. “We will continue to work alongside them and provide any assistance that we can.”
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